Hot Spring (Highlife, Limelight, Hot Spot), Fantasy, and preowned Hot Spring
Balanced by Ohio Pools & Spas (private label), Freshwater Salt, Leisure Time, Frog @ease, GLB, Natural Chemistry
Hot Spring/Watkins, Leisure Concepts, Covana
When growing up around a family business, one doesn’t always have warm, fuzzy feelings about it.
Amanda Annis, president and owner of Ohio Pools, was “100% certain” that she was not returning to the spa retail business. Her great uncle had started the company in 1957; her father and uncle went to work for him and purchased the business from him in 1981. In 1983, they started selling hot tubs; as a high schooler, Annis did not have the best opinion of hot tubs. “Hot tubs are luxury items for rich people, and they’re not good for the environment,” she recalls saying at the time.
Her perspective changed when, after nine years away at college and working on organic farms, she came back to the business to help her dad and save money to buy her own farm. “I had some really special experiences with clients who needed the hot tub for health benefits and learned firsthand how big of a difference our products make,” Annis says. “That’s when I started to fall in love with it.”
It wasn’t just the products that made Annis change her tune. She began to view the business differently as well, seeing parallels between, of all things, the hot tub business and farming.
“One of the things I loved about farming was that it’s so community dependent,” Annis says. “You rely on your neighbor down the road to help get you out of a ditch and to help you with whatever big projects you have coming up. You give to each other knowing that you need each other. I found the same dynamics in our family business, and that was really meaningful to me. Being able to create and grow community to help not only our customers solve some of their day-to-day challenges, but also our employees.”
- Sponsor -
Before taking the reins as president and owner, Annis spent time working in each department at the company, which meant tackling challenges and problem solving.
“You have to find a way to not only embrace the challenges but also get energy from them, because otherwise you’re gonna burn out,” Annis says. “I think COVID sped up a lot of natural processes and things that were changing in the business world. My mentality right now is to be as open as possible to change and still be aware and mindful of when we have the wins and when we solve the challenges, [that] we celebrate those.”
She’s also learned that in a family business, making sure the business is supporting everyone’s goals is paramount. “I’m not just talking about my direct family, but all of our employees’ families,” Annis says. “If it’s not also supporting their personal goals, it’s not going to work.” During her official employee reviews and check-ins, Annis now asks each person about their goals both personal and professional.
And now Annis fully embraces the power of hot tubs and a family business — seeing how both can changes lives.